Posted on Leave a comment

An Evolving Artist is a Perpetual Student

An evolving artist is a perpetual student, always searching for the best way to create a visual statement. I think that to just paint the same thing over and over is to stagnate. Some would argue with me, those who have a schtick, perhaps, a motif that sells. I would argue in return, that the artist who does that, may be selling, but is not evolving.

So I study. Every Wednesday morning will find me out painting with the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters, a practice which immerses me in the creative, decision-making artistic process like none other.

Sometimes I feel “behind”, knowing that many of my peers have been actively producing art during the 35 years that I pursued a non-art career. So I study. I study great artists through their books and photos of the masters, I attend workshops by contemporary artists, and I study subjects by painting what I have photographed. Mostly I study on site, en plein air.

This week I studied the light on a barn at a state park, a feat of patience as the sun hid behind the clouds most of the morning, giving me mere glimpses of the structure in full light. I did not finish the painting, content with what I learned by studying only the lit side, the unlit side, and the shadow under the roof.

Later that same day I painted a pelican from photos I had taken. Studies from photos don’t have to be photos I have taken, but on the off-chance that I might keep one of the studies for showing, then I like to use my own photos so the work is all my original artwork. I think it is unethical to paint someone else’s photo and call it your own original art, so I paint from my own photos if I plan to show my work to anyone. When I practice from the masters, I don’t post my practice pieces. Here’s a video of me at work on my pelican, where I was painting at the 30A Art Market at the Shops at the Hub, in Seacrest, Florida.

My finished pelican turned out to be a “keeper”! Since this was the first time I’ve painted a pelican, and pelicans are such a common bird here where I live, I expect there are many more pelican studies in my future!

NOTE: I have since discovered that I actually have painted a pelican once before, 4 years ago, after a trip to the Turks and Caicos Islands, but since I had forgotten it, I’m going to stick with the story that this was my first pelican!

Oil painting of a pelican with pink background

 

 

 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Joan Vienot, Live Event Painter

Several years ago I was asked to paint the bride and groom’s First Dance at their wedding reception. That first request blossomed into more as word got out. I have dedicated a page on my website to Weddings, Etc.

Last fall I painted at a beautiful wedding which was held outdoors in front of a magnificent private mansion. The weather was gorgeous, the light exactly mirroring the day before when I had visited the site to work out the details with the wedding planner. I arrived about an hour early, so my painting was well underway by the time the first guests arrived. A trio played classical music behind me, to the accompaniment of the splashing sound of the beautiful marble fountain beside me, and pre-wedding cocktails encouraged the convivial atmosphere. Guests looked over my shoulder as I continued to structure the mansion, cheating the color towards the warm glow I knew would be present at the moment I was asked to capture, which would be the bride’s father escorting the bride to her wedding. (I had taken a few reference photos of the wedding planner standing approximately where I thought the bride and her father would be walking, so that I had an idea of scale when I started the painting.)

I was amused that a few of the guests wanted to have their photo taken with me painting — apparently my activity was something essential to their anticipated memories of the occasion. But I was wholly unprepared for the revelation that my work would be so significant to the bride, surprised and pleased that she had my painting printed on her Thank You cards!

And then gratitude upon gratitude, when she included a photo of me painting, in the feature article on her wedding in The Knot, the premier magazine for “all things wedding”! The issue will hit the newsstands on June 26, 2017. Below are small photos of the 3-page article, and the fourth one is a composite of the photo of me working and the list of vendors. Click each image for enlargeable view.

Click image for enlargeable view.
Click image for enlargeable view.
Click image for enlargeable view.
Click image for enlargeable view.

 

Posted on 2 Comments

Went to a Garden Party, en Plein Air

Sometimes our local group of plein air painters receives an invitation to paint at an event. When that happens, usually 4 or 5 of us will show up, and it is always fun. The garden party today, at Clay30A, was no exception. It was the 5th anniversary for the Seagrove Beach, FL, nursery and gift shop. I meant to arrive an hour early, because the party was only scheduled for 2 hours in the afternoon, and I wanted a head start. Alas, somewhere I lost an hour, so I arrived right after the party started. Several fellow painters were already hard at it. The business is a cornucopia for plein air painting – brilliant light and color and contrasting dark shadows galore. I often bite off more than I can chew when we (the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters) paint here, so today I purposefully chose a simple subject, pots of flowers hanging from a tree. I correctly guessed that the sun would be starting to hit the flowers by the end of the party at 5:00, which was when I would be ready to paint the light. From when I started at 3:00 until then, I was busy with simple shape making and background colors. At the end, I was pleased with my result, so I gave it to the owner to thank her for inviting our group. To our surprise, she gave each of us a sweet card and gift. I am so grateful to live in such a classy place! Below is my painting. There was one change I made after shooting this photo — I removed the pot hanger I had started to paint in below the lowest hanging pot on the right. I decided that it would be difficult to identify, and that visually it would be less confusing to have the pots just hanging from the tree.

Oil painting of hanging impatiens at Clay30A nursery and gift shop, Seagrove Beach, FL

Posted on 1 Comment

Trying Something Different, en Plein Air

I grow faster as an artist if I occasionally try something new, with a technique, a medium, or a subject I don’t normally use. Last week I posted a work in soft pastels. I’ve painted a couple more since then, for more exposure to the medium. Pastels are an excitingly different medium than the oil paints I normally use.

A month ago, I enjoyed oil painting using only black, white, and gray, to meet the requirements of a call for art by my local arts alliance. I painted en plein air, on a 12″ x 36″ stretched canvas, at Salinas Park near Port St. Joe, Florida, on the road to Cape San Blas. The marsh there is one of my favorite scenes. When I was a mentor for the Forgotten Coast en Plein Air in 2016, as a Florida’s Finest Ambassador, I taught 3 sessions at Salinas Park, but there is a difference between painting as a demonstration, and painting for the sheer pleasure of it. I loved doing this painting using only black, white, and gray. The only times I have painted with this palette of neutrals is in classes, either as a teacher or as a student. I really ought to do it more often, making a completed painting out of a value study, such a beneficial exercise! Unfortunately, the painting was not accepted into my local arts alliance’s exhibit — so I can’t wait to see the art that was accepted! To see a larger view of this painting, CLICK HERE.

Oil painting of the marsh at Salinas Park, Cape San Blas, Port St. Joe, FL, painted en plein air in black, white, and gray

The pastel works I completed last week are below. I specifically worked on creating the illusion of distance in all of these paintings, by softening distant edges, reducing detail,and reducing distant intensity and heightening the values. Pastels are pure pigment, and it is a challenge to reduce the intensity when you only have a couple hundred colors. Painters who work regularly in pastels have probably a hundred shades and tints of each color, perhaps a thousand colors in their box. As an oil painter, I am accustomed to mixing my colors. So it was a lot of fun allowing the brilliance of the pure pigment to show.

As always, message me if you are interested in owning any of my artworks.

Soft pastel study of a the afternoon light on the marsh at Bayou Texar, Pensacola, FL   Soft pastels painting of the marsh and bridge on Bayou Texar, Pensacola, FL